Every time you pick up your guitar, you notice how the instrument feels and plays. But is it sounding the way you want it to? Wait -- what's that buzzing sound?
The most common complaints I hear from clients are buzzing strings and guitars that are difficult to play or that sound out of tune. Fact is, most guitars today are mass produced; therefore, the factory "fit" rarely fits anyone's style -- whether you're new to playing guitar or gigging nightly as a professional. Not to mention, temperature changes, the act of hauling your guitar to lessons, practice or gigs, and even simple adjustments like a new set of strings ... and buzz, buzz, buzz.
Good news is, your guitar isn't necessarily bad or broken. A custom guitar setup or adjustment is usually all it takes to get your instrument back into top playing condition, quickly and easily, with the help of a qualified luthier. (Learn more about my professional guitar repair experience.)
Improving your guitar's playability: How do you like to play?
The first step is to stop by my shop and play your guitar for me. We'll talk about how you like to play and what gauge of strings you prefer. For example, if you like low, quick action -- that is, how much pressure you need to play notes -- I'll likely recommend a lighter set of strings. We'll adjust and I'll set up the guitar and then make additional assessments in four areas:
1. Neck. Sometimes your guitar's neck is overly bowed, sometimes it's too straight. If it bows more, it's going to feel stiff and difficult to play. If it's to straight, it's going to be easy to play but have a lot of fret buzz.
2. String height at the fingerboard nut. A lot of times, the slots won't be evenly cut across your fingerboard or won't follow the radius of your fingerboard, which feels awkward to play and, more importantly, can cause tuning problems.
3. String height at the saddle. This is more about raising or lowering the saddle so the string height is consistent and comfortable to play.
4. Intonation. You want your intonation to be set properly, so you stay in tune with yourself and the people you're playing with.
Are all of these problems common? Absolutely! What's more, these adjustments are quick and easy for an experienced luthier to make. Think of it as basic guitar maintenance, like having the oil and filter changed on your car to keep it running smoothly.
Because this is such a common occurrence, I guarantee all of my guitar setups and adjustments for one full year. To learn more, call me at (510) 332-2275 or inquire via my contact form.